Shake It Off Video Montage

3kids2cats1divorce:

Fun video by a local therapist (who’s as lovely in person as she seems on her blog) featuring some friends of mine. Remember: “For any one person who is against you, there are more people who will stand for you.”

Originally posted on Gender Blog by Darlene Tando, LCSW:

I had a lot of fun creating a music video montage to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” song. My goal of this video is to raise awareness and acceptance of transgender youth and adults. Being transgender is NOT a mental illness, it is just a variation of the human condition. We need more understanding and more allies!! Those who are transgender should not live in shame or in fear of coming out. And for those who face adversity every day, here is my reminder to try your best to “shake it off”. For any one person who is against you, there are more people who will stand for you.

A sincere thanks to everyone who contributed videos for this project, and to my sister Emily who sang the modified lyrics.

Enjoy the video below, and feel free to share! :)

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Spring Break, At Least There’s No Algebra

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Oy, I’m tired of trying to get divorced. The last time I heard from my attorney (before today) was in late January. She’d received a call from Mr. Men’s Rights asking about releasing the house proceeds prior to the finalization of the divorce.

Yes, the house closed escrow in October and the proceeds were placed into an attorney’s trust (with my lawyer because I’m the one who kept the escrow officer and my attorney up to date) pending final dissolution of the marriage. So there’s a huge amount of money just sitting there and Voldemort, through his lawyer, wants it.

I worked with my attorney on conditions for the stipulation to release the money early; basically taking care of all the agreed upon expenses before cutting checks to each of us. She sent the paperwork over to opposing counsel and was told they were cool with it. Then she spent a couple of days following up, prodding his lawyer’s office to get it together so the funds could be released.

And I received a $600 bill for legal services. I emailed her immediately and told her to knock that s**t off. How absurd for Voldemort to make this request and have it cost me $600. No.

No more follow-ups. No more reminders. He wants it, he can deal with his attorney to get it.

Which means that nothing happened for two months.

Until today. My attorney called to let me know Mr. Men’s Rights wanted to know when the money would be released. He claims he signed the stipulation weeks ago, blah blah blah. Honestly, who cares when he signed it? Voldemort has to sign and produce some proof that he’s complied with the stipulation.

But it gets weirder, or crazier?, or something. Voldemort hasn’t paid his lawyer bill in months. He owes Mr. Men’s Rights some significant amount of money and Mr. Men’s Rights is clearly gunning for a way to get it. Now that he’s motivated, perhaps there will be some forward movement.

My attorney also called the judge and learned that our file is “almost to the top” of the judge’s stack. No clue if that means the decree will be finalized this week or this month or even this year. Apparently, the divorce backlog is at least six months in San Diego. Plan accordingly.

This seedy underbelly of the judicial system is frightening. I hope there’s a way to fast-track paperwork for domestic violence survivors because I can’t even imagine that nightmare.

I’ve got a few days with no Algebra homework and it’s awesome. Then just seven more weeks and I’ll be done with Algebra…and on to Statistics.

It could be worse. I could still be married to and living with He Who Shall Not Be Named. I’ll take Algebra every day of the week!

My Divorce is Like the Energizer Bunny

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It just keeps going and going…

My husband abruptly moved out on March 30, 2012, apparently to shack up with his mistress. As of today, the divorce is still not final. We didn’t have a ton of money to begin with and there’s a whole lot less now that we’ve been paying lawyers for months and months. California courts presume 50/50 joint custody, but the one remaining minor child channeled Nancy Reagan and just said no to that nonsense.

I really have no idea if this divorce will ever end. I need some more snark/pithy internet wisdom to get through it.

 

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Someone Please Bring Me A Pizza Covered In Xanax

3kids2cats1divorce:

An incredibly well-written distillation of great (and funny!) relationship advice for a teenaged daughter…that applies to middle-aged divorcees, too.

Originally posted on Fisticuffs and Shenanigans:

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Today, my darling 15-year-old daughter, has her first ACTUAL date with an ACTUAL boy.  (She’s been dating robots for years…don’t judge.)  And, I know…it’s on Valentine’s Day…cue the Seraphim.

This is just the beginning…the beginning of a long line of lessons that she, and her friends will have to learn.  While I’m not ready to impart ALL of these things to her now, I promise that, at some point, when they’re appropriate, I will. Even though she won’t listen to me AT ALL…just ask my mother.

Still…at some point…

1a. If someone tells you they are “too special” for most people, then the special person they need is a psychiatrist. Instead of giving them YOUR number, give them their number.

1b. If anyone tells you “You’re the only one who understands me,” it might be because they’re insane, and you’re the only one who hasn’t caught on, yet.  Do you really want to…

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Honor Roll and the Fear of Everything

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In her first semester of high school, as well as her first semester of public school ever, kid #3 made both honor rolls!

 

I didn’t even know there were two, academic and citizenship, and she made both.  Her success alleviates many of my fears that she’d be completely screwed up by the divorce. It took some time, but she’s found a balance. She’s happier now than at any time in the past three years. And she’s comfortable with next-to-no contact with her father.

 
I still worry about college, dating, drugs, bullies, and teaching her to drive, but I think that’s just normal maternal fear.

 
For more years than I care to remember, I stayed in my crappy marriage to a man who bored the hell out me in every possible way because I was afraid of absolutely everything.

 
Afraid of losing an intact family, albeit with a batsh*t crazy father, but intact.

 
Afraid of leaving the family home. Or worse, afraid we’d be homeless.

 
Afraid of being destitute because I gave up my career.

 
Oh, yeah, afraid of re-entering the job market without a degree or skills, but with a saggy neck.

 
Afraid of dating/finding a new partner/being single/never having sex again.

 
Afraid, afraid, afraid.

 
One of the very best things I’ve learned in the past three post-separation years is that I can face these fears.

 
I can leave a house I loved and be happy somewhere else.

 
I can go back to school, always the oldest student in the room, and not only learn but thrive.

 
I am still the one sane parent my kids need.

 
Best of all, my kids are centered and focused — on their educations and their dreams. They aren’t irreparably damaged by their flaky father or our divorce.

 
Sadly, there are no “My kid made Honor Roll neener-neener” bumper stickers at this high school. I’d rock that thing like a mother.

A Fun Twist in the Road

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Unless I embarrass my kid…

 

 

Glossing over the incredibly boring details, I got a call last week from the Upper Division Transfer admissions officer at San Diego State University about my application for Fall 2015. The bad news is I cannot be admitted unless I’ve completed all my general education math coursework. (Friggin’ algebra!)

And that’s not going to happen before the fall semester begins, so it’s a non-starter. She talked to me about SDSU’s Open University program, which was always my Plan B, and dropped a bombshell. In order for the graduation evaluation I just got done in October to remain valid I must enroll in a class for the Spring semester, which began yesterday.

Of course to enroll I’d have to crash a class, although finding a class that fit the very narrow confines of what’s left for me to complete was the first hurdle. At this point it’s not even remotely about what I might like or be interested in, it’s all about what class is offered, with open seats, and ticks a box I need without conflicting with the damn math class schedule.

Found one, hallelujah! I went to war in the parking garages at SDSU this morning and finally found a parking space and then the correct building plus classroom. Seriously, it’s crazy hard to return to SDSU after 30 years, nothing is remotely familiar.

Guess who was already seated and waiting for class to start? Kid #1!

The professor thinks it’s an incredible opportunity for us to be in the same class and kid #1 seems fine with it, so I’m in.

It’s African Literature, which I have no experience with. I’m just glad it’s not Dead White Guy literature. I’m sick of them. Based on the syllabus, it looks to be the perfect class to get back into the swing of things with, especially since I’m also taking Intermediate Algebra at the nearby community college.

Things are going to get interesting. And to anyone who knows kid #1 in real life: y’all, we need to cut this kid some slack. SDSU is crowded and confusing and crazy. He’s doing an awesome job with his schoolwork and that’s enough for now.

Wish me luck!

You Just Never Know

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I’m constantly amazed and surprised by people. Today I went to the pharmacy to pick up the monthly prescriptions for one of my kids. You can’t even believe how I had to fight Voldemort to keep all three kids on his gold-plated, employer-provided health insurance. Seriously, what father would leave his kids without health insurance?

I breezed into the pharmacy drive-up and was completely horrified when the staff member told me, “The insurance company declined coverage.”

What?

There’s been no change in insurance to my knowledge.

One of the prescriptions costs $800+ per month without insurance.

I don’t have a paying job and there’s no way that spousal support will cover rent and that one medication.

Holy shit.

The pharmacy staffer was incredibly nice and said she’d call the insurance company right away to find out what was going on. I had to disclose extremely private information about my kid in the friggin’ drive-through — thinking it might make a difference (it didn’t).

She said it would take about 15 minutes, so I ran another errand, and then went back to find the mess was still a mess. Came home and called the insurance plan administrator.

Here’s where things got great: there are two local people administering the benefits for Voldemort’s health insurance locally. (Guess how I know?!?) And the one I speak to most often is 51 and recently separated from her manipulative, narcissistic husband (again, guess how I know).

This woman could not have been kinder, more efficient and helpful, or truly compassionate. She remembered me from my call last month and got this mess cleaned up in 10 minutes.

I tend to go in loaded for bear with stuff about my kids. I have a Rambo attitude and that’s not always a great way to get things worked out. In this situation, I’m completely at the mercy of the insurance company. My kid absolutely needs the medications, which I cannot pay for without insurance. Fortunately, the plan administrator is awesome. She and I have bonded. She totally had my kid’s back.

People can be amazing sometimes, when given the chance. And I returned the favor by pointing her toward ChumpLady.

Harder Than I Imagined

 

And I have a good imagination.

I thought going back to school at 52 would be tough, but I really had no idea.

There were four people out of the 41 in the classroom over age 25. And I was the oldest of the four. One was the instructor. One was an Iraqi vet. The third was another (yet still younger!) single mom. The age thing was a bigger deal than I thought it would be.

Not always a bad thing, though. Most of the students were the age of my older kids and they treated me like their mom. Ya’ll, I acted like their mom: badgering them to do the homework, encouraging them to study for quizzes, cheering them on when they did well on exams. I don’t know if any of that was a “good” thing, it’s just part of my character at this point.

I was unprepared for the sheer number of hours a single elementary algebra course could consume. It was a part-time job. I sincerely tip my hat to everyone who goes back to school while managing a career and marriage/family. I put in at least 25 hours a week on homework and studying for weekly quizzes and exams. It was frustrating and surprisingly fulfilling.

Turns out I enjoy solving quadratic equations. Who knew?

In the end, I had to confront my desire to quit when things get hard. I got very discouraged a week before the (cumulative!) final. I was completely overwhelmed and felt entirely too stupid to manage the class. I really, really wanted to give up. Walk away.

I didn’t. I kept showing up. The physicists of the world have nothing to fear from me, but I got a B+. I’m very proud of that B+ because I worked my ass off for it.

Now I’ve got five weeks off before the next section — Intermediate Algebra — starts. I may not set the mathematical world on fire, but I bet I can pass that class, too.

Light A Candle

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scented-candle-freshly-signed-divorce-papers-0

I bought one of these (www.flick-candles.myshopify.com) in anticipation of Thursday — the day I signed the Marital Settlement Agreement, which will ultimately become my divorce papers.

The back of the candle reads: “Nothing captures the rich parchment of a legal document declaring an end to your failed marriage like Freshly Signed Divorce Papers. It’s not like everyone around you didn’t see this coming, and with the light from this candle now you can see it too. Part happy, part sad, a little relieved, and unsure of your future financial stability: the complex emotions of divorce are captured in this very complex candle.”

I figured I’d need some snark upon returning from my attorneys’ office. Boy, was I right.

Divorce sucks.  And it’s still not over.  His lawyer plays fast and loose with the paperwork, so of course some crucial bits were missing.  My lawyer is preparing the missing papers and will send them over next week.  Who knows how long it will take for Voldemort to sign and return.  Then everything gets bundled up and sent to the judge.

Current backlog in San Diego County Superior Court: two to six months.

WTFever.  This candle should smell like burning money.

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